THE MAIN HALLWAY AT Daly Elementary School in
Germantown is adorned with photos of nearly 30 years of
graduating classes. In the first photo, about half the kids
are white. But as you move down the hall and through the
years, that starts to change. In the most recent photo, the
vast majority of the students are of color.
“If you have blond hair you stand out,” says Principal
Daly and many other elementary schools in
Montgomery County are the face of the region’s rapidly
changing demographics. Today, about 73 percent of the
students in public elementary schools are nonwhite; 15
years ago that number was about 56 percent.
I met Dietz several years ago, when she helped lead
a tour of the Middlebrook Mobile Home Park, the last
remaining mobile home community in the county.
The tour was organized by the Healthcare Initiative
Foundation to highlight the difficult living conditions of
the mostly Latino residents.
At the time, I thought it was unusual that an
elementary school principal would be so involved in an
activity that, on the face of it, wasn’t directly related to her
school. But I’ve learned that Dietz is anything but usual as
About 125 of the Daly students live in the mobile home
park. Some reside in trailers with other families. Most
face unimaginable challenges.
Dietz decided years ago that she and her staff needed
to go beyond their usual roles to address the needs of Daly
students, nearly three-quarters of whom currently come
from low-income households. These days, Dietz and her
staff care for the students (and in many cases their families)
in numerous ways, providing counsel, food, clothing and
furniture. They often visit the homes of the students in the
mobile home park and other neighborhoods—and get to
know the parents and families.
I thought the Daly story was important to tell because
of the magnitude of the challenges and the extraordinary
response of the staff members—and because many other
schools are dealing with the same issues.
Over the past six months, Cindy Rich, our senior
editor, has spent countless hours at Daly and in
Germantown, interviewing Dietz, Daly staff members and
the parents of students. In this issue, Rich provides an
account of Daly that is both sobering and inspiring.
Her story, “Hope Lives Here,” begins on page 90.
EVERY YEAR IN OUR November/December issue we
run a photo of the Bethesda Magazine and Bethesda Beat
staff on this page. We do so because I want our readers
to see the hardworking people who deserve credit for
whatever success we have had. It’s an honor to work with
such a talented and dedicated group.
I hope you enjoy this issue of Bethesda Magazine.
Please email me with your thoughts at steve.hull@
22 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 | BETHESDAMAGAZINE.COM
to our readers
Editor & Publisher
THE DALY CHALLENGE
The staff of Bethesda Magazine: (Left side of photo) Jill Trone, Penny Skarupa, Cindy Rich,
Jennifer Farkas, Susan Hull, Joe Zimmermann, Andrew Schotz, LuAnne Spurrell; (right side of
photo) Jenny Ragone; Bethany Rodgers, Amélie Ward, Rebecca Scherr, Maire McArdle, Arliss
Dellapa, Onecia Ribeiro, Andrew Metcalf, Kathleen Neary, Sarah Hogue; (not pictured) Laura
Goode, Caitlin Micek, Meghan Murphy, Julie Rasicot